These days, I find myself knee-deep in satin and girl time. I can say, “mani-pedi” and not giggle and have even expressed the desire to get one. I actually went to a store last week with the sole purpose of buying a leather purse, and did indeed purchase one. I went a shade darker with my hair and had my eyebrows waxed. I have recently purchased two hats that do not have any logos on them and they are not baseball caps.
This is me in 2010.
I am nowhere near becoming a fashionista or a pink and lace girly girl, and, yes, this journey began a long time ago. I did, however, become keenly aware of the transformation last June when I stood in DSW taking pictures of shoes with my phone. I sent them to my Shoe Diva, Sharon, in California to ask which shoes I should buy.
Mind you, Sharon is in law school and was aiding me during the fashion emergency by texting me while in class. This Shoe Diva knows her priorities.
The questions came rapid fire.
“Dress or pants?” she asked (while adding her complete delight and glee that I was asking her about shoes).
“Could be either. I haven‘t decided yet.”
“The strappy ones on the left.”
Done. Back to law.
I scooped up the shoebox and put it under my arm before I changed my mind about buying shoes all together.
A male salesman, who had walked past me several times during the whole exchange, walked up to me and laughed. “Shoe emergency?”
“Dress or pants?”
It then occurred to me that not only was I generally lacking in fashion execution, I was horribly ignorant of the lingo and had no idea that pretty shoes could do more than serve an aesthetic purpose. Shoes could be pretty and practical and a) worn with just a dress, b) worn with just pants, or c) worn with either pants or dress and could d) be worn to dance in and still be pretty.
Being feminine is hard work and I feel as if I need a student visa to study in this foreign country, but I digress.
This summer, beginning June 5th, I will attend or be a big part of three weddings that will all happen in a six week span. Two years ago, I would have faked a family death to remove myself from such discomfort. My comfort zone does not include tulle, tossed bouquets or fancy dresses and definitely not pantyhose. If I wear pantyhose for you, that is LOVE. Remember that.
Something very strange has happened to me in the last year. After a couple of really nice weddings where I knew the bride and groom well, weddings moved out of a vestibule of hell and became a not so dreaded part of life. Then, after a wedding where the bride and groom were about ready to jump out of their skins they were so excited to begin their lives together as man and wife, I walked out saying, “I can see myself having a wedding someday.”
If my mother weren’t already dead, upon hearing those words, she would be now. Anyone who has known me longer than two or three years is probably in shock. Michelle and Hallie just high-fived each other. The Green Onion just landed the mother load of buttons to push.
Two of my Bro Onions are getting married this summer. They are both marrying beautiful women I love and adore and I am excited for them. I am in the house party in one wedding, and I have agreed to wear Victorian lilac for Hallie and probably pantyhose, too, in the other.
God only knows what else will happen to me between now and then.
The other day this thought occurred to me: I keep saying, “that/they/it will be the death of me,” but if I’m honest with myself, I think that part of me needs to die.
Believe me, that phrase applies to many other areas of my life, but honestly, the moment that thought was birthed in my brain, I was pondering purses, hats and Victorian lilac.
I’ve held onto, quite stubbornly, my devotion to not being a girly girl since I was about eight years old. This journey to even the slightest attention to femininity has been a long one, and yes, I do realize there is so much more about femininity than pink lace, ruffles, purses and the right makeup.
For me, this means I have to let go of what scares me about being feminine (that’s a long story) and just let this lesson unfold as it will. I am up to my neck in all this girl stuff that‘s not just about girl stuff. I decided, after agreeing to wear Victorian lilac, that it is no mistake I have three weddings in six weeks and that my involvement gets deeper as the summer progresses. God is taking me on a journey and instead of fighting it, I just need to lift my feet and let the current take me wherever God wants me to end up.
I was born a girl. I’m still not sure what it means to be one. Not completely. I’ve had to be the “man” in my life for a long, long time. I don’t mean to sound stereotypical, but I’ve studied the male/female roles for a long time and I’ve had to be both.
I take care of myself. When it all boils down the nuts and bolts, it’s just me that has to deal with everything that adulthood brings my way. I fix the holes in my wall. I take out my own trash. When I had a lawn, I was the one that mowed it. I’ve changed my own flat tires, and I know more about cars than most women. When push comes to shove, I am my own shield from harm. When the bills get paid, it’s the money I’ve earned to provide for myself that pays them. I am solely responsible for the outcome of my life.
My point is, I have had to wear many hats in this life as a single woman that I wouldn’t have to wear if I was married or in a relationship. It’s that simple and that complicated.
Some women like not giving men the privilege of loving them by being male and allowing them to be fully feminine. Personally, I am tired of wearing that hat. It’s Real Man repellent. I watch young women spray on Real Man repellent every day and I’m wondering if I can get its stench out of my clothes before it’s too late.
If I‘m honest, quite frankly I wish I had a real man in my daily life, for many reasons, but for the one I‘m addressing here, to relax into my femininity. I just don’t know how to relax into being fully a woman without having a man in my life to… be the man.
I know I’m not explaining this well, but that’s where I am as 2010 begins. I am wrestling with having to be the strong one and take care of me while exploring what it truly means to be a woman in that circumstance.
Albert Einstein said, “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” I know this means I have to lay down what scares me about being feminine and embrace all that life has intended for me as a woman. Don’t be surprised, though, if at first it’s with all the grace and awkwardness of an eight year old, because I’m picking up where I left off.